The federal government and the Council of Ministers of Education Canada (CMEC) committed to a series of thematic reports based on the 2012 Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC).
Recently I received a copy of “The Health Dimensions of Adult Skills in Canada”. The report looks at how literacy, numeracy and problem solving in technology-rich environments skills influence health and social outcomes. (PIAAC 2012 Health and Social Dimensions Canada – Executive Summary and PIAAC 2012 Health and Social Dimensions Canada)
The key findings are:
- Health and social outcomes are unevenly distributed within Canada.
- Higher skills are associated with better health and social outcomes.
- Skills are associated with health and social outcomes independently of education.
- Indigenous peoples tend to report poorer outcomes—but skills may narrow some gaps.
- Immigrants’ outcomes vary with length of residence in Canada.
- Skills are not enough to show an improvement in health and social outcomes for unemployed Canadians, the unemployed with higher skills actually show a decline in self-reported health.
- More research is needed on the skills, health and social outcomes of workers in precarious employment.
While many of these findings will not surprise those working in the literacy field, having the evidence from this report will help better make the case of why literacy matters to policy makers.
You can read this report and others at piaac.ca.